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Two additional SGs to deal with direct, indirect tax cases
October, 09th 2007
The government will soon appoint two additional Solicitor Generals to effectively present the states point of view in cases pertaining to direct and indirect taxes, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday.

We are concerned about the quality of representation from the government side, he said adding that the state too needs to be represented by good lawyers who can match high-profiled advocates hired by corporates to deal with taxation disputes.

Speaking at a function to mark silver jubilee of the Central, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), he asserted on the need to acquire domain knowledge to adjudicate disputes that will arise after imposition of the Goods and Services Tax from April 1, 2008. He said the finance ministry was still trying to comprehend how oil companies price their products before they are taken out of the refineries and also how these products should be valued for the purpose of levying tax.

This, Mr Chidambaram later told reporters, was only an academic exercise and explains the complexities related with taxation. He said GST which will subsume service tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) would open a new area of indirect tax litigation to be dealt with by CESTAT.

As far as customs is concerned, the minister said litigation would decline with the government introducing harmonised system of classification of goods and reducing rates of taxation.

With customs revenue declining the world over and the tariff rates coming down, he felt it may not be worthwhile for corporate to raise customs disputes.
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